casacaded assignment : Java Glossary


cascaded assignment
In Java it is possible to cascade, aka chain assignment operators, but it is in generally considered poor form since the code often surprises the average programmer with its effects. Consider the following correct code to swap a and b without using an intermediate temporary:
int a=4;
int b=5;
a ^= b; // a=1, b=5
b ^= a; // a=1, b=4
a ^= b; // a=5, b=4
You might think you could collapse that program like this, as you can in some C++ compilers. It may not be legitimate C++, but some compilers allow it. However, in Java it does not work. You just get a=0.
int a=4;
int b=5;
a ^= b ^= a ^= b;
int a=4;
int b=5;
a ^= ( b ^= ( a ^= b ) );
As a general rule, avoid cascading any of the Java combo assign/compute operators such as ^= += -= *= /= %= &= |= <<= >>= >>>= or =, especially when you use the same variable both on the left and right of an assignment operator.

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